Michelle Tea: Diva Cups and My Stevie Nicks-ian Higher Power

My god is not a mean trickster god, nor is she a humorless taskmaster judging my pregnancy attempts and punishing me with infertility if I don’t kill myself trying.
Publish date:
May 10, 2012
pregnancy, getting pregnant with michelle tea, insemination

I guess there is some sort of app for charting your fertility on your phone, but the thought of using it makes me want to kill myself. I have this feeling, a terrible one, that if I do not do EVERYTHING within my power to get perfectly pregnant, the cruel, Tyra Banks-esque gods who oversee earthly pregnancies will decide I don’t WANT it bad enough, and I won’t get pregnant.

Because I have been going to 12-step meetings for 9 years and actually WORKING the steps and whatnot, I have conjured myself a pretty cool Higher Power, or HP, or god, or Universe, or whatever you want to call it.

My awesome god – part guardian angel, part invisible friend and part Stevie Nicks – wants me to have EVERYTHING I want, all the time, forever. That doesn’t mean I’ll get it. Me and my HP have an understanding – I don’t know the whole story of my own life, I only know a little bit of it, and even that little bit is muddled with my own wild passions and desires.

So even though my HP is totally 100% on my side and would love me to have EVERYTHING I want, all the time, forever, it just isn’t always possible, because it doesn’t always fit with the PLAN.

Oh, my god!

My god is not a mean trickster god, nor is she a humorless taskmaster judging my pregnancy attempts and punishing me with infertility if I don’t kill myself trying. I KNOW this. And I still harbor an irrational fear that if I don’t download the ovulation app that makes me want to die, well, then, I don’t DESERVE a baby, and the gods will see to it that I never get one.

Really, the most interesting thing about this whole insemination process has been delving into the darkness of my own psychology!

Me and Dashiell head toward the Witch Store in the Mission, certain they will have Diva Cups. Incidentally, Dashiell has a TERRIBLE god. Dashiell’s god punishes her all the time, for the slightest infractions.

In fact, it is probably Dashiell’s god who is threatening to tie my tubes if I don’t download the ovulation app, but you know what? He doesn’t work for me. I got my own god and I have told Dashiell numerous times that she should trade hers in for a friendlier deity.

My Stevie Nicks god is a total Luddite, and the thought of a downloadable ovulation app exhausts her, too. I imagine her up on a cloud in a hankercheif-hemmed lace dress, sipping peach nectar and sighing with relief saying, "Girl, I didn’t want to have to deal with that app either, go read a fashion magazine and forget about it!" I love my Higher Power.

In the Witch Store -- a place my Higher Power would LOVE -- I locate the Diva Cup, on the bottom of a wooden shelf stocked with creams and ointments. I didn’t expect it to be so BIG. I’m going to stuff that thing inside me? Really? And it’s not going to feel like stuffing a dog toy up my vagina? Because that’s what it kind of looks like to me, those dog toys you stuff with treats and the dog has to dig them out.

A Kong. Like a cross between a Kong and some medical device made for people whose bladders have failed them.

Separated at birth?

Also, the Diva Cup comes with a lapel pin! A little daisy with the word "Diva" underneath it. This, for many reasons, kills me. Firstly, "Diva" is right up there with "Rock Star" under phrases I wish to never hear again. Also, each summer, me, Rhonda and our friend Vinnie take a weekend in Provincetown, a trip he deems Diva’s Weekend. Me and Rhonda truly do not know if he is being ironic or if he is serious when he forbids us to play anything but Madonna, Cher and Barbara Streisand on the drive down the Cape. We’re afraid he isn’t, and so we just roll with it, even purchasing rainbow stickers that say DIVA at the gay bodega on the main drag.

But really, I mostly find it hilarious that the makers of a cup meant to CONTAIN MENSTRUAL BLOOD think that their customers would want to advertise their choice of menstrual blood containment with a bit of jewelry. I’m all for killing the stigma of menstruation -- in the 90s I ran a grotesque little personal experiment which involved me simply not wearing ANYTHING when I got my period and bleeding all over the place to make people DEAL with the fact that WOMEN MENSTRUATE!

That was during one of the more extreme peaks (valleys?) of my Lesbian Feminist Nervous Breakdown. So, I’m down, ya’ll. I just don’t know that a flowered lapel pin that says DIVA is the way to do it.

But I’m not using that cup to capture Aunt Flo, I’m looking for it to keep Quentin’s sperm up in my vagine! Only -- I thought it was bad to have ANYTHING sharing space with the sperm? Because sperm are more finicky than a chemically sensitive lesbian at an Al Anon meeting? How come this here Diva monstrosity gets a free pass?

Oh, who knows! A woman from Arkansas told me she popped one of these in after insemination, went to bed and woke up pregnant, so I’m doing it. All I do is collect buckets of occasionally conflicting fertility information and do my best to implement it all so that Dashiell’s mean god doesn’t punish me with childlessness!

The sales witch who brought me to the cups shows me that they are two different sizes -- one for women who are over 30 or have had kids, and one for younger women or women who haven’t.

“I’m not really using it for my period,” I tell her, “I’m using it to help me get pregnant.”

“Oh . . . “ She looks at me with confusion. “You put it up there after you have sex?”

“Yeah,” I said. To say anything else would force me to face my annoyance that this woman, working in an infamous, lesbionic witchery shop in a pretty gay neighborhood A.) Isn’t up to date on the methods women (lesbians) may use to get themselves pregnant, B.) Presumes her customers are straight, and C.) Thinks Dashiell, standing handsomely beside me, is either a man, or a straight girl -- ? -- or perhaps my younger brother? It’s all too much to grapple with.

And speaking of stressful grappling, I’m not going to shove that Kong into my vagina. I don’t even see how it will help -- it’s deeper than I imagined, and the sperm will just pool at the bottom and get killed by whatever sperm-unfriendly synthetic material it’s made from. The only person who told me to use it was that one woman in Arkansas and she was probably some sort of fertile Myrtle.

That’s what my mom calls ladies who get pregnant real easy. Fertile Myrtle.

Fertility Candle!

Instead of buying the Diva Cup I buy a copy of Janet Spiller’s New Moon Astrology, so I can get regular with my new moon wishing rituals. I buy a green candle for fertility, and a white candle for a sick friend. Soon it will be my birthday, and me and Dashiell will be going up to Northern California, to stay in the rustic Hotel Arcata that has claw-foot bathtubs, and I want to get fun bubble bath.

Don’t ask me why we’re going to drive six hours to take a claw-foot bubble bath when I’ve got such a tub at home; I guess I just want to get out of town.

We come across one of my favorite bath treats, a Love Spell Fizzy Melt by Apothekerri.

“Well, you’re warned,” I tease Dashiell, waving the love spell bath thingie at her. “If you get in the tub with this, you might fall in love with me.”

To my confusion, Dashiell does not make a joke in return. She looks ... sheepish! Guilty, even! “What?” I ask her. “Why are you turning all red like that?”

“Well ... I just ... maybe, when we were first dating, I put a love spell on you?”

“WHAT?” I am utterly shocked. Dashiell is a very open-minded and open-hearted person, but she also tends more toward the logical and rational than the witchy and woo woo. SHE put a love spell on ME? I am utterly dazzled, dazzled and charmed. Flattered that she wanted my love so bad she would turn to the fickle services of the occult for assistance.

"Remember I went on that ghost tour with work, around Halloween?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Well at the end they passed around this, like, voodoo doll, and everyone made a wish on it, and I wished that you would fall in love with me.”

“You did!” I remember where we were with each other around Halloween, how I was falling in love with her. The thought of her wishing for my love and keeping the wish a secret all this time makes me giddy.

“Babe, I’m sorry!” Dashiell looks seriously pained. “Is it bad? I don’t want to put a spell on you! I’ve felt guilty for it the whole time!”

See, this is what I mean about Dashiell’s god. Maybe her god is mad about it, but I’m pretty sure my HP is high-fiving me right now. Even though it’s true that you shouldn’t cast love spells because they tamper with another’s free will, this is a rather new philosophy. The history of magic in all its many tradition offers up many love spells. You just have to be prepared for the consequences, which in Dashiell’s case means having to spend the rest of her life with me.

“You’re so powerful!” I coo at her, hug her and kiss her face. “Don’t feel bad, I’m so happy it worked. I love being in love with you. I had no idea you were such a wizard! Or, a druid! A Manwitch!”


NEXT WEEK: Where’s my Clomid?!?